Far too many of the Jews of Jesus’ day focused attention on the temple itself, and many probably worshiped that building instead of God Himself. Jesus’ disciples pointed out to Him the temple along with that which Herod had built too. He told them that not one stone of the temple would be left on another, all would be torn down. Later the disiples asked Him when this would happen and what would be signs of it.
The “end of the age” mentioned in verse 3 does NOT mean the end of the world. The end which Jesus (accurately) predicts is the end of the Old Testament era and the sacrificial system, as well as judgment on those who in between would crucify Him.
His command to them, and which is definitely applicable to us, is “See to it that no one misleads you.” In order to be obedient to this command we (and they) must be alert, study the Word, and spend time with Him . . . as well as obey ALL His commands.
The Gospel WAS preached to all the known world before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. Are we holding up our end?
Jesus pronouces His final woe upon the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees and reminds them that their actions make them just as guilty as their forefathers who killed or at least mistreated all the prophets He sent to them. He will, in fact, hold them responsible for the deaths of all these prophets, retribution is coming upon them for this and for their soon rejection and murder of Him as well.
In the Bible a generation is roughly forty years. His reference to “this generation” HAS to refer to those with whom He is speaking. He uses the near demonstrative (this). Had He meant a future generation He would have used the far demonstrative (that). Every instance of “this generation” in the Bible refers to the generation being addressed (just as the words would seem to indicate). This did in fact come to pass: Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Temple along with it, in the events surrounding 70AD. There is much fulfilled prophecy in these events – but our ignorance of history (and the Bible) often keeps us from seeing that fact.
Jesus would prefer that Jerusalem (the nation) repent, but He has given them free will. We must remember that along with free will comes the responsibility of its exercise.
The Pharisees and their scribes were diligent to tithe (give ten percent of) off of the increase of even the small plants in their gardens. These would also have been of the smallest of plots as these plants were seasonings and not food crops. But Jesus said that they should have been paying attention to “tithing” in the “weightier” areas of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. They were seeming to be so pure as to strain out a gnat, but were in fact swallowing camels.
The examples that follow are much the same; they may appear to be good and clean, but inwardly they are vile, evil and filthy.
We choose what we are and how we act. We need to look to Christ and follow His example faithfully. This will entail much prayer for help, it also entails constant obedience; but it avails much satisfaction of a life lived right!
Sorry about this being down a week. I think they finally got things straightened out.
Jesus told His followers that the religious officials were usurping the position of Moses. He further commanded them to obey that which these fellows taught (presumably as long as it did not counter Scripture) but NOT to do as they did. Their focus was on glory to self and not to God. To emphasize this fact, as He prounounces woes upon them, he calls them hypocrites. They in fact are sons of hell (v. 15).
Swearing is not what we want to say that it is, but it is what the words actually mean (v. 16). In all swearing (calling down an oath upon ourselves to verify the veracity of what we speak) we are calling God as witness. We must not be hypocritical in any way.